Nightly News | September 06, 2010
KATE SNOW, anchor: As this Labor Day weekend winds down, a lot of families, including my own, are planning for their kids to go back to school, and some teachers are very happy to be heading back there as well. Ten billion dollars in federal funding aimed at reversing teacher layoffs has allowed many who had been laid off to go back to work. But state budgets across the country are still a mess and that is giving everyone a painful lesson in basic math. Here's NBC 's Michelle Kosinski .
MICHELLE KOSINSKI reporting: In Broward County , Florida , music teacher Marcos Rodriguez , an Army veteran who loves this job...
Mr. MARCOS RODRIGUEZ: It's, I mean, it's unlimited creativity.
KOSINSKI: ...found himself laid off in June. Then just before classes started this year was told he could come back at a different school. He's been laid off twice now in two years.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ: It's emotional.
KOSINSKI: More than 500 teachers here were on that same roller coaster, fired, then re-hired.
Ms. MERYN LECLAIR (Hollywood Hills Elementary School Teacher): It was just like this weight off my shoulders.
KOSINSKI: That they and an estimate 160,000 teachers around the country may be working at all this year is thanks in large part to a sudden $10 billion rescue from Congress that schools have until next September to spend.
Mr. LORI GRANGE (Pew Center on the States Deputy Director): This latest federal aid definitely gives states some breathing room, but it's hardly a magic bullet for states ' long-term budgeting problems.
KOSINSKI: In California alone it's expected to save more than 16,000 jobs. Though many districts, like LA , feel they ought to save it for huge shortfalls next year. Chicago wants to hire back teachers, but will likely have to lay them off again in nine months. Texas might refuse the money all together. Still, Broward County will take it.
Mr. JAMES NOTTER (Broward County Public Schools Superintendent): It is one more year, but it's better than no more years.
KOSINSKI: Looming next year for many, even bigger cuts. Electives have been slashed, which is why Beth Aronson , voted Best Teacher in Town , won't get her job back.
Ms. BETH ARONSON: You put your heart and soul into this, into loving these kids, into doing what you know best, and then it's like somebody just pulls the rug under you without warning.
KOSINSKI: Marcos got another chance but knows he might be laid off again.
Mr. RODRIGUEZ: I'm terrified, enough to make me want to quit doing this job.
KOSINSKI: Now, though, he will give his students and his passion another year. Michelle Kosinski , NBC News, Broward County , Florida.
SNOW: And a program note, NBC News will host a major education summit on the plaza here in Rockefeller Center in New York , "Education Nation," a nationally broadcast, in-depth conversation about improving education in America . It all starts September 26th on the networks of NBC .